OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — A harbor seal pup found on the town beach last week is now at a Massachusetts rehabilitation center, and is said to be in stable health.
The pup was reported June 2 night near the Alouette Beach Resort. At the time, officials at Marine Mammals of Maine said it’s normal for pups to be left on shore while their mothers forage for food.
Volunteers monitored the seal, which was said to be just a few days old, as they were concerned the mother would not come back due to the number of people on the beach. The mother did not return.
Marine Mammals of Maine Executive Director Lynda Doughty said Wednesday that a slot opened up on Sunday at the organization’s triage center in Harpswell when a sick seal pup there had to be put to sleep.
The seal pup found on Old Orchard Beach was taken to the triage center on Sunday, and was transported Tuesday to the National Marine Life Center, a rehabilitation center in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.
National Marine Life Center Director of Marine Animal Rehabilitation Kate Shaffer said Wednesday afternoon that the seal was a bit underweight, but was in stable health. The pup has been named Sealia Roberts, as the center currently has a “sealebrity” theme of naming seals after celebrities.
A marine animal rehab expert said Sealia is being fed formula, and will later transition to fish gruel. The goal is to maintain the pup’s health and return her to the ocean in three to four months.
Staff will put Sealia in deeper and deeper pools to teach her how to swim and will play fish games with her to teach her how to fish, said Shaffer.
Marine Mammals of Maine is a privately funded organization with two staff members. The facility has a triage center that can care for animals for up to four days.
The maximum capacity of the facility is 10 animals, and it can only take in animals that have a space reserved for them at the National Marine Life Center or at the animal rescue program at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, Doughty said.
For more information on the center, go to mmome.org.